Flexible asphalt with Wirtgen

With increasing demand for recycled products to be used in asphalt mixes, Wirtgen details its Benninghoven ECO Asphalt plant capable of incorporating recycled materials and maintaining product consistency.

Local councils manage around 80 per cent of Australia’s road network, according to Natspec, which in 2015 was reported to cover 873,573 kilometres.

Asphalt plants are required locally in municipalities across the country in order to supply contractors with a variety of asphalt designs. By tailoring an end product to suit local conditions, contractors can support the traffic demands on thousands of kilometres of roads.

In many areas, one asphalt plant supports the majority of a town’s network, supplying a diverse variety of mixes in a single day. These cater to an array of construction requirements, from low-traffic driveways, right through to high-traffic demand industrial intersections of highways.

Malatesta Road Paving, one of the asphalt manufacturers in Bunbury, Western Australia, was looking for a new batch plant to provide multiple asphalt mixes daily. To meet the demanding task, the company turned to its long-standing supplier Wirtgen – providing it with the Benninghoven ECO Asphalt plant.

Wirtgen’s General Manager of Mineral Technology – Greg Astill says due to its strong relationship with Malatesta Road Paving, Wirtgen has an in-depth understanding of the business and its need for quality equipment.

“Companies don’t buy our asphalt plants based on purchase price, we are never going to be the cheapest, but these plants are strategic investments,” Mr. Astill says.

With its previous plant around 25 years old, Mr. Astill says Malatesta wanted longevity and a high degree of flexibility from a new plant.

Malatesta Road Paving owner Teresa Malatesta-Burton says the decision to buy the Benninghoven ECO plant was made after comprehensive assessments of all major asphalt plant manufacturers.

“We looked at quality, functionality, availability, cost and maintenance support provided,” Ms. Malatesta-Burton says.

Bunbury’s location, around two hours’ drive from Perth, meant the company needed a supplier with quality service and availability of spare parts to be called out at any time.

“We have workshop employees trained to respond to general enquiries across Australia. These people can get to site and work with specialists for local or rural plant support,” Mr. Astill says.

Ensuring plant availability is maintained was essential as the plant could be supplying multiple jobs on any given day.

“A continuous batch plant like the ECO allows extensive levels of repeatability for mixes, so you get a high level of consistency out of production,” Mr. Astill says.

The Benninghoven ECO plant allows manufacturers to maintain a high level of flexibility during production runs and ensures Malatesta’s customers are supported with different mix types produced at consistency.

Ms. Malatesta-Burton says the batch plant was chosen due to the demand the business faces for multiple mix types in any one day.

“The Benninghoven batch plant allows for mixes to be changed mid production, and offers significant flexibility in mix design with greater consistency through decreasing variability in the screening of aggregates,” she says.

She says the Benninghoven batch plant also allows for the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), bitumen dosing and a granulate pellet system for stone mastic asphalt (SMA).

“Previously Malatesta did not have this functionality. This opens up a whole new avenue to the Malatesta Group for environmentally friendly and improved technologies to be utilised,” Ms. Malatesta-Burton says.

Wirtgen has supplied Benninghoven ECO plants to Australia for a number of years and there are currently seven in operation around the country.

Mr. Astill says there are three distinct reasons companies look to buy the Benninghoven ECO range. The first, he suggests, is for future-proofing.

“It used to be the case that asphalt material and the mixing technology was reasonably static. Plants lasted easily 20 to 25 years,” he says.

Now, Mr. Astill points out the complexity and requirements for different asphalt materials is putting pressure on older plants.

“The industry no longer mixes just rocks and bitumen. Manufacturers will have to consider using glass, plastics, RAP or crumb rubber into asphalt mixes,” he says.

Mr. Astill adds that plants with a variety of materials also need to meet stringent environmental requirements.

For example, the United Kingdom introduced an aggregate tax of two pounds per tonne in 2002 to encourage the use of recycled aggregates.

The European Asphalt Pavement Association states some European countries allow up to 90 per cent RAP to be used in mixes.

“Coming from Europe, Benninghoven makes plants that can be scaled in the future to allow the addition of various recyclables. If you buy a plant today, you can add new segments when and if required,” Mr. Astill says.

Entire life maintenance savings is the second reason he attributes to the Benninghoven plant’s popularity.

All Benninghoven plants are designed, engineered and manufactured in Germany.

“The quality of the build in these plants is exceptional and the standards set by Benninghoven in its manufacture and assembly process is world class,” Mr. Astill explains.

“It’s the little things, like moisture ingress protection, extra shell thickness on the dryer or coating on the inside of the metal ducting that reduces moisture, that ensure the plants provide exceptional life expectancy,” Mr. Astill says.

He says the machines last longer due to quality materials and the ability to add features in the future to cope with new requirements.

As with Wirtgen’s entire range of asphalt plants, bespoke Benninghoven ECO plants can be created for its customers.

“For Malatesta, a family business, we needed to create a low-profile plant. To achieve this, the mixed asphalt storage silo was moved to the side of the plant instead of the standard design underneath the plant,” Mr. Astill says.

Increasingly, he says there are requests for recyclable streams and different types of storage to be incorporated in the
plant design.

He says excellence in design and manufacturing coupled with Wirtgen’s experience in customer support is the third reason companies purchase Benninghoven plants.

While downtime when purchasing plants overseas can be an issue, Mr. Astill says Wirtgen has the parts and expertise on hand across Australia.

“We will have the spare parts needed ready to go, maximising uptime and availability,” Mr. Astill says.

Wirtgen has a local presence across Australia and New Zealand, on top of a specialist team that works only with Benninghoven plants.

“We have a national footprint and the trained support to anyone acquiring a Benninghoven in Australia or New Zealand,” Mr. Astill says.

The Benninghoven plants also come with a BLS3000 asphalt plant control system for further asphalt mix flexibility.

“This provides the operators with in-time viewing of all plant faults and electrical consumption so they can monitor individual plant items and make necessary changes,” Mr. Astill says.

The system can also generate reports showing each batch and kilogram of material going into a mix for historical records.

“The Benninghoven ECO plant can be tailored to meet any requirements, from a basic plant with no storage, recyclables or basic technology, to a complex plant with multiple recyclable streams being delivered to multiple types of storage,” Mr. Astill says.

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